What if You’re Diagnosed?

NTM Support

You probably have a lot of questions. You should know first that you’re not alone. Although an NTM lung infection is considered a rare disease, there are communities for people just like you.

To talk to other people
who have NTM, visit

The Different Types of NTM

There are many different types, or species, of NTM that can cause an infection. Depending on the species you have, your doctor may prescribe you different medicines.

The most common species of NTM is called MAC, or Mycobacterium avium complex. Sometimes, doctors will call an NTM infection “MAC or MAC lung infection” because it’s the species most often identified in patients.

8 out of 10 NTM infections is caused by MAC

In fact, 8 out of 10 NTM infections in the US are caused by MAC.

Some other types of NTM include:

  • M abscessus [ab-SESS-ess]
  • M kansasii [can-zays-EE-eye]
  • M malmoense [MAL-mow-ense]
  • M szulgai [SOOL-guy]
  • M xenopi [ZEN-no-pie]

What to Expect

You and your doctor will decide what is right for you. You may be prescribed a treatment regimen or you may be referred to a specialist. Because NTM is rare, many specialists may have had limited opportunity to treat a lot of people with NTM. This is why you may want to find a specialist who has experience caring for people with NTM.

If you think you could be suffering from NTM, or if you’ve already been diagnosed, you may wish to see a doctor in your area who specializes in lung diseases. You can start your search for a local specialist with the tools below:

Healthy Lifestyle Changes

Light activity, such as walking, has many health benefits:
Makes daily activities easier
Provides long-term health benefits
Talk to your doctor to see if starting an exercise routine is right for you.
No smoking
Don’t Smoke
Smoking is also a leading cause of lung problems and lung cancer. Quitting may not be easy, but it can improve your health. Your doctor can help you develop a plan to stop smoking.
Balanced diet
Well-balanced Diet
Your diet has an effect on how your body works. Having a well-balanced diet can help by minimizing inflammation.

Nutrition Tips

One of the symptoms of an NTM lung infection is weight loss.

Eating right

It’s important to maintain a healthy weight and eat a well-balanced diet. Eating right may help you feel better. Remember, always talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diet.

Stick to foods that can help with minimizing inflammation.

There are some foods that help more than others
because of their high level of key vitamins and minerals

Citrus fruits, like oranges or grapefruit
Sweet peppers
Brussels sprouts
Sweet potatoes
Other foods
Other Foods
Cereal grains
Seafood, including fish and shellfish
Vitamin C
Vitamin E
Vitamin A
Fatty acids

Be sure to talk to your doctor before starting any new vitamins.

Keep Up Your Appetite

  • Eat five to six small meals a day and snack whenever you are hungry
  • When you’re hungry, have a high-protein snack like nuts
  • Calorie-boost a meal with sauces, cheese, or butter
  • Remember to use whole milk. Avoid low-fat or skim milk products
  • Don’t fill up on fluids
  • Want a drink? Try milkshakes and juices
  • Make it spicy if your sense of taste has faded
  • Take a walk. A 20-minute walk an hour before eating helps keep up your hunger
  • Keep a food journal. Knowing what you’re eating is key

This nutrition guide is only a suggestion. It’s important to talk to your doctor or dietitian if you have any questions or concerns.

Tips to Living With NTM

Explore the links below to learn more about NTM and how to manage your disease.

About NTM

It’s important to know as much as you can about NTM and how it affects your body. Here is another resource where you can learn more:

Reduce exposure to NTM

While NTM is in the environment, there are some things you can do to avoid exposure. Learn about a few here:

Clearing your airways

NTM may make your body create excess mucus in your airways. Talk to your doctor about ways to clear mucus from your lungs. In addition, here are some other resources with examples of different techniques you can use to clear the mucus: